News from the Statehouse: The Ohio House and Senate will meet this week, and appointments to committees are expected to be announced.
-Members of the 129th Ohio General Assembly convened on January 3, 2011 in Columbus, took the oath of office, and elected officers.
In his address to the Ohio House of Representatives, William Batchelder, who was elected Speaker of the House, said that during his term as House Speaker he will focus on creating jobs and expand business opportunities, eliminate the estate tax, and reform collective bargaining and the Bureau of Workers Compensation. He also stated that over one hundred bills are ready to be introduced, and committee appointments will be announced this week.
In his remarks in the Senate, Senator Tom Niehaus, who was elected President of the Ohio Senate, said that during his term as Senate President he would support efforts to ensure that the voices of all members are heard, create a better climate for businesses to operate and create new jobs, and ensure that parents have educational choices for their children.
Governor-elect John Kasich took the oath of office at midnight on January 9, 2011. The swearing-in ceremonies of the other elected officials were held over the weekend and on January 10, 2011.
News from Washington, D.C.:
*The 112th Congress convened on January 5, 2011. Representative John Boehner from West Chester, Ohio, was elected Speaker of the U.S. House and Representative Nancy Pelosi was elected Minority Leader. In the U.S. Senate, Senator Harry Reid was elected Majority Leader and Senator Mitch McConnell Minority Leader.
Representing Ohio in the U.S. Senate are Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown. Representing Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives are Representatives Steve Austria, John Boehner, Steve Chabot, Marcia Fudge, Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Jim Jordan, Marcy Kaptur, John Kucinich, Steve LaTourette, Bob Latta, Jim Renacci, Tim Ryan, Jean Schmidt, Steve Stivers, Betty Sutton, Pat Tiberi, and Michael Turner.
*Duncan urges action on ESEA: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan published on January 3, 2011 on the Washington Post’s opinion page a request that the 112th Congress reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, (School Reform. A Changed for bipartisan governing, Washington Post, January 3, 2011.)
Secretary Duncan stated that there is an urgent need to revise the law “to support reform at the state and local levels” and increase the number of students who graduate ready for college and ready to compete in the global economy. He noted that Democrats and Republicans already agree on a number of changes that should be made in the law, such as changing how schools are rated, using data to show student and school progress, supporting a well-rounded education, supporting quality teachers, etc. Work should continue across the aisle to find solutions to the other outstanding issues and reauthorize the law.
The article is available here.
*Conference on Labor-Management Collaboration: The U.S. Department of Education is sponsoring a conference on labor-management collaboration in Denver on February 15 and 16, 2011. The conference is funded by the Ford Foundation and will be held in partnership with several organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the National School Boards Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services.
Invitations to attend the conference were sent to school districts that had obtained federal funding in the past year. Participants also have to agree to work to “… collaboratively develop and implement policies in such areas as: setting strategic direction to advance student achievement and aligning all labor-management work with this overarching focus, including ways to share responsibility and hold each other accountable for results; and more effectively supporting the work of teachers, leaders, and administrators in advancing student achievement by improving such systems and structures as organizing teaching and learning time and schedules, and processes for the hiring, retention, compensation, development, and evaluation of a highly effective workforce.”
For more information about the conference please click here.
*Applications Available for the U.S. DOE Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Program: Applications for the 2011-2012 Teaching Ambassador Fellowship program (TAF) will be accepted through January 17, 2011. The TAF program provides “…outstanding school teachers who have a record of leadership, strong communication skills, and insight from their classroom experiences, the opportunity to expand their knowledge of policy and contribute to the national dialogue about education.” Fellows will learn about federal programs and policies; collaborate with federal staff; provide outreach; and work with other educators to develop and implement federal programs.
Teachers with at least five years of experience in any grades prekindergarten through grade 12 can apply to one of two tracks: the Washington Fellowship, which is a full-time appointment based at U.S.
DOE in Washington, D.C.; and the Classroom Fellowship, which allows teachers to continue teaching in their schools while participating in the TAF program on a part-time consultant through USDOE’s regional offices.
For more information please visit this site.
News from the ODE: The weekly EdConnection newsletter from Superintendent of Public Instruction Deb Delisle includes the following information:
*Update on the proposed changes to value-added rules: The value-added component is a significant factor in Ohio’s accountability system for schools. Improving the implementation of the measure will provide greater fairness and credibility for rating schools.
The State Board of Education’s Achievement Committee will be discussing in January 2011 proposed changes to the value-added rules.
The recommendations emerged from discussions with the Buckeye Association of School Administrator’s Report Card committee and superintendents, Battelle for Kids, and other stakeholders, and are intended to create in Ohio a single value-added system that incorporates all of the beneficial diagnostic features currently employed in the Battelle for Kids SOAR project. The proposed rules substantively change the system in three ways:
-Establish a more rigorous statistical definition for the growth standard, moving it from one to two standard errors of measurement.
This change aligns the standard with the Battelle for Kids SOAR project. It is widely recognized as a more appropriate standard for distinguishing highly effective or unsatisfactory performance from performance that meets the standard, and it will be used for Race to the Top purposes as well.
-Change the requirement for the time frame for value-added to impact report card ratings. Currently, it takes two years of “above expected” growth to receive a boost in the report card rating. This will be shortened to one year. Likewise the penalty for “below expected” growth will be triggered in two years rather than the current three.
-Adds an alternate path for schools and districts to achieve a rating of “excellent with distinction.” If test results at the advanced or accelerated level are 75 percent of a school’s results (or two-thirds for districts), this highest rating will be awarded. This also will provide an avenue for high schools that do not currently receive a value-added computation to become “excellent with distinction.”
For more information about the proposed rules changes, please contact Matt Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Board of Education Postpones Meeting: State Board of Education President Debbie Cain announced last week that the January 2011 meeting of the State Board of Education would be postponed until January 18-19, 2011, because of the “uncertainty” over the confirmation of individuals nominated to serve on the Board.
The Ohio Senate rejected Governor Strickland’s five appointments to the Board on December 21, 2010. Three of those who were rejected by the Senate, Kathy Leavenwoth, Juanita Sanchez, and Roger McCauley, have been serving on the Board.
The nineteen-member Board (consisting of eight appointed and eleven elected members) was scheduled to meet on January 10-11, 2011 to seat newly elected and appointed members and elect officers for this two-year term. After the Senate rejected the governor’s nominations, Governor Strickland submitted five new recommendations which must still be confirmed by the Senate. The Senate’s first voting session is scheduled for January 11, 2011.
According to news reports, the Republican-lead Senate believes that Governor Kasich, who took office at midnight on January 9, 2011, should have the opportunity to appoint individuals to key policy positions, such as the State Board of Education. However, in 2007 when Governor Strickland took office, the appointments to the State Board of Education of then out-going Governor Taft were seated without controversy.
N. J. Stakeholders Challenge Cuts in Education Funding: According to an article published on January 5, 2011 in the Wall Street Journal, (“Battle Over Education Funding on Docket” by Lisa Fleisher) the New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments on January 5, 2011 regarding a challenge to the cuts in education funding enacted by the New Jersey state legislature and Governor Chris Christie in the 2010-11 state budget.
The plaintiffs, the Education Law Center, argued that the cuts of more than a billion dollars last year violated the terms of an agreement between the state and plaintiffs that was worked-out as a result of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Abbott v. Burke and a May 2009 decision that upheld the School Funding Reform Act of 2008. The defendants argued that the funding cuts were unavoidable, because of the budget deficit facing the state, and that the court does not have the authority to make spending decisions.
According to the agreement developed under former Governor Jon Corzine and agreed upon by the court in 2009, the state is required to fully fund and evaluate the new education formula for three years. The new formula directs more money to school districts with children with higher needs — such as those in poverty, with disabilities, or who are learning English. The plaintiffs said that the cuts that were made in 2010 forced poorer school districts to reduce basic instruction, and could have been offset by a tax increase on millionaires. The article is available here.
News from Policy Matters Ohio: A December 30, 2010 press briefing from Policy Matters Ohio focuses on “Unions, Working Families, Public Employees and Public Budgets”, and provides information about the history and the role of trade unions in Ohio. The briefing was presented by Wendy Patton, Senior Associate Policy Matters Ohio; Attorney Joyce Goldstein, Board Chair, Policy Matters Ohio; and D. John Russo, Coordinator of the Labor Studies Program and Co-Director of the Center for Working Class Studies at Youngstown State University.
Recently there have been newspaper articles, reports, and statements from lawmakers and policy makers about changing the collective bargaining laws in Ohio for public workers in order to balance the FY12-13 budget.
According to the Talking Points prepared by Policy Matters, unions in Ohio represent 14.2 percent of workers in both the private and public sectors. The right of private sector workers to bargain collectively is guaranteed through the National Labor Relations Act of the 1930’s. This right was extended to pubic sector workers in Ohio in 1983 with the passage of state collective bargaining laws.
The Talking Points note that starting in 2003 states such as Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky eliminated collective bargaining agreements for state employees, but according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities all of these states still had shortfalls in their state budgets this year. The brief goes on to say that some of the states that forbid collective bargaining, such as Arizona, North Carolina, and Nevada, also have high budget deficits today.
According to the brief: “The point is not to highlight the struggles of individual states; it is to illustrate that the right of public workers to bargain collectively is not the cause of the budget shortfalls and eliminating that right to collective bargaining has not fixed the problem in states that have tried it. Deeper and broader problems: disinvestment, capital markets, trade and currency, are what shape the economies of America’s regions.”
The brief also notes the following:
-The wages and salaries of state and local employees are 11 and 12 percent lower than those for private sector workers with comparable education and experience.
-Public jobs require more education on average than private sector jobs.
-Over the last two decades, earnings for state and local employees have generally declined compared to similar private sector workers.
-Benefits, such as pensions, make up a greater share of compensation in the public sector.
-Including benefits, state and local employees still have lower total compensation. (6.8 percent lower for state and 7.4 percent for local workers.)
-The median hourly wage has fallen in Ohio by $.68 per hour over the past 30 years.
The Policy Matters press briefing documents are available here.
Other reports related to this briefing are available online. These include the following:
-“The Wage Penalty for State and Local Government Employees” by John Schmitt, May 2010 for the Center for Economic and Policy Research
-“Out of balance: Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation Over 20 Years” by Keith A. Bender, associate professor in the Department of Economics and in the Masters in Human Resources and Labor Relations Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and John S. Heywood, distinguished professor in the Department of Economics and Director of the Masters in Human Resources and Labor Relations program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, April 2010.
-“Prevailing Wages and Government Contracting Costs: A Review of the Research” by Nooshin Mahalia, July 3, 2008 for the Economic Policy Institute, EPI Briefing Paper #215.
*Sad News: The OAAE expresses its sympathy to the family of James Kenneth Mateer, 80, an outstanding arts educator who passed away on January 2, 2011 following a brief illness.
Mateer was born in Girard, Ohio, where he graduated from high school in 1948. He attended Carnegie Institute of Technology and graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1953. After spending two years in the U.S. Army, including thirteen months in Germany, Jim returned to Western Reserve University where he received his B.S. and M.A. in Art Education in 1958. He taught art in the Midview Local School District in Lorain County for nineteen years and became Art Supervisor for the Elyria City Schools in 1977, a position he held until his retirement in 1987.
During his teaching career, Jim was active in several art education organizations. He held various positions including the presidency in the Ohio Art Education Association and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.
In addition to his full time teaching, he was a part-time instructor at Lorain County Community College for twenty years. Following his retirement from public school education he became an adjunct professor of art education at Baldwin Wallace College where he taught for seventeen years.
Throughout his career Jim continued to produce and receive recognition for his own art in a variety of media, primarily colored pencil and block prints. He delighted in working in his spacious studio in Wellington, where he spent a great deal of time exploring new subject matter.
In addition to his art, Jim enjoyed performing in and attending theater productions, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends, whom he counted as his greatest treasures.
Jim is survived by his wife of 21 years, Virginia (Ginger) Mateer (Rainey), children Shelley Mateer (Tracy Tupman), Jamie Gwin, Melissa Mateer, Ross Mateer, and Kevin Kimes (Sharon). He also leaves eight grandchildren: Sarah and Laura Gwin; Cara, Jimmy, Chase, and Joey Mateer; and Kaden and Chloe Kimes. He was preceded in death by his parents, Isabel (Bruce) and E. Ross Mateer, and by a brother, R. Bruce Mateer.
A celebration of Jim’s life was held on Saturday, January 8, 2011.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts Endowment Fund or the Ohio Art Education Foundation. Contact information for both organizations is available on the website.
*Education Reform in the New Congress: Americans for the Arts will host a webinar on January 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time to discuss the topic “Education Reform in the New Congress: What Could It Mean for Arts Education?”. The webinar will include a presentation by Americans for the Arts Director of Federal Affairs Narric Rome, who will discuss the impact of federal K-12 arts education policy, federal movers and shakers in education reform for 2011, and speculate about what federal action could mean for arts education at the state and district levels. The webinar will offer Q & A opportunities for the webinar participants and will include the following national arts education leaders as commentators:
Heather Noonan, Vice President of Advocacy, League of American Orchestras Debora Hansen, President, State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) Richard Kessler, Executive Director, The Center for Arts Education (NYC) To register please visit this site.
*Register Now for the 2011 National Arts Advocacy Day: Registration is currently open for Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on April 4-5, 2011. The 24th annual Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together a broad cross section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. For more information please click here.
*News from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Partnerships “Update”. The following information was published in the January/February 2011 Update from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Partnership and was prepared by Barbara Shepherd, Director; John Abodeely, Program Manager; Kelsey Mesa, Program Coordinator; Anthony Barbir, Program Assistant; Cecily Hart, Assistant; and Justin Smith, Intern.
-“Poets and Presidents”: The Performing Arts Distance Learning Series presents “Poets and Presidents” on Friday, January 21 from 11 AM – 12 PM ET. President John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy believed strongly in the power of words and the value of poetry for their children. In recent books, Caroline Kennedy has gathered together her family’s favorite poems by such celebrated poets as Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg. As part of the Kennedy Center’s “The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration”, Caroline Kennedy introduces four contemporary award-winning poets – Marilyn Singer, Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Charles R. Smith, Jr. – who talk about why they write poems and then perform several of their poems. All programs are broadcast via satellite/cable and the web, and registration is free. Programs from past seasons, along with background information, resources, and instructional activities are posted under “Archived Broadcasts” on the website.
-Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Emerging Artists Workshop:
Applications are available for students to apply to participate in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Emerging Artist Workshop, established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mary Lou William’s birth.
The workshop, which will be held on May 18-21, 2011, provides female jazz artists ages 18 to 35 with an opportunity to develop their artistry under the guidance of leading jazz artists and instructors.
For 2011, the focal instrument is the piano. The workshop culminates in a performance by workshop participants on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage during the 16th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.
The Kennedy Center provides travel to and from Washington, D.C., a per diem, lodging at a local hotel for all participants, and tickets to each night of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. No tuition or fees are charged. The application deadline is February 12, 2011. Selected applicants will be notified by March 28, 2011. For more information and an application, please visit this site.
-Toolkit Available from KeepArtsinSchool: “Winning School Board Support for Arts Learning: A Toolkit for Action!”, developed by keepartsinschools.org, will help groups mobilize advocates and make the case for arts learning as an essential component to quality education and community life. Included in the Toolkit are dynamic examples of how parents and other influential groups across the country are successfully lobbying their school boards.
Also included are ideas and activities to raise visibility for your advocacy efforts; easy to use communication templates that will help structure your message to resonate with your community and influence your school board to make arts learning a priority; and compelling data, messaging, and stories to support your presentation to the school board. The Toolkit is available here.
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.Ohioedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.OAAE.net).